Thao Nhi is a guesthouse about 11km from Ben Tre town. It's recommended as a good budget option by the Rough Guide, and since we were unimpressed by the hotels in Ben Tre town itself, we decided to Honda over and give it a go.
It's in a beautiful area, in a village among coconut palms, with lovely paths for bicyling and some spectacular boat trips into the surrounding channels.
So at first we were very happy - but there are a couple of caveats: first, it's not as budgetary as it looks. The rooms are only 8 dollars, but the food (which is fairly good) is very expensive, and it's hard to eat elsewhere because you're out in the boondocks. The costs add up quickly.
Second, the owner, Phat, turned out to be a bit of a creep. We got the feeling that he wanted to squeeze every Dong and Dollar out of us that he could. He was very keen for us to do a motorcycle tour with him, trying to persuade us even after we told him we didn't want to do it. Then he offered to give us a lift to the bus stop to Vinh Long, but he took us out to the edge of the highway, where he and some dodgy guys forced us to pay way more than the going rate for our tickets. It was the only time in Vietnam that we really felt uncomfortable, unsafe, and that we were being badly scammed. We were relieved to get away from him in the end.
But the setting was gorgeous, so all in all, I'd say go, but stear clear of that dodgy Phat.
#1 bone has been a member since 10/10/2009. Posts: 3
I agree that Phat is a bit of a go-getter, like many successful entrepreneurs, and you do have to watch costs, and bargain hard, but I never felt scammed. We did a terrific boat trip and a bike trip to Vinh Long, neither bargains, but both very enjoyable. I would just ensure that you are very clear about costs before you embark on anything- but that's true of anywhere you travel.
#2 violets has been a member since 6/7/2009. Posts: 152